Yesterday the University Visual Arts Students Union (VASU) and friends went on an art adventure throughout Saskatoon. Our first stop was at the Mendel Art Gallery. If you haven’t seen the Mendel’s most recent exhibitions “Contemporary Drawings from the National Gallery of Canada” (curated by Rhiannon Vogl) and artist Trace Nelson’s exhibition “Wall’s of Intrigue and Cabinets of Curiosity” then you must MUST check them out. I’ve been back to see the exhibit numerous times and it’s exciting, inspiring and fun.
But we weren’t at the Mendel for a regular visit: we’ve come for a tour of the vault. Mendels’ registrar Donald Roach took us on a VIP tour through the back rooms and the vault of the gallery. Inside the vault was all kinds of treasures and more than a few strange and dumbfounding works of art. We got the chance to hear from Donald interesting stories behind artwork and acquisitions.
Our next stop was to 330G workspace and gallery. 330G is located in an old church that has been flipped at 330 Avenue G (get it?) owned and managed by artist Marie Lanoo. We got an artist studio tour from two of the artist working in 330G: Sean Weisgerber and Marie Lanoo. Something that struck me about seeing the artists in 330G was the amount experimentation and serious play. Both artists have an artistic practice using constant experimentation that leads them to breakthroughs and discoveries with their work. Many of their works in progress aren’t treated as precious, this detachment from their work allows them to push their work further to possible disaster. An important skill of a successful artist is the ability to edit, stated Weisgerber. To know what worked and didn’t work in this innovative creative environment makes all the difference.
We started 330G with a tour of Weisgerber’s studio. Sean’s space is divided into a classic white walled painting area and what looks like painting torture chamber. The torture chamber had canvases and frames shackled, hanging upside down from the the ceiling by multiple rigs. Their surface covered in a thick grey paint that oozed down with gravity forming stalactites.
For real though, Sean’s work is very cool. Previously producing beautiful, intricate and sometimes optic hard edged paintings; Sean is now captivated by dip paintings. He’s dipping paintings in giant vats of thick house paints numerous time to create a hardened spikey surface. He’s made some really great ones, and he’s still experimenting. I enjoyed the empty frame drip paintings, the one that he has shot up at a shooting range, his “vitamin P” triptych and his multicolored drips.
I enjoyed what Sean had to say about his creative process and his advice about working in the creative industry (since graduating from Emily Carr, Sean had numerous art odd jobs that informs his practice). Check out Sean’s website for more of his work http://seanweisgerber.com/works.html
^Sean explaining his pull system, with in process hanging drip paintings in background.
^some of Sean Weisgerber’s finished drip paintings.
Next we got a chance to see Marie Lannoo’s studio space. Marie Lannoo has been creating loads of work dealing with color and optics (just look at her portfolio from 2001-present! http://www.marielannoo.com/portfolio.shtml). Marie gave us a run through of some of her multiple projects. She paints on resin “paper” then folds it creating multiple tones as the light plays off the surface (see recent work http://www.marielannoo.com/portfolio/year/s03.shtml). She’s also making these translucent color swatch gradients that you see two colors beautifully merging together. Marie is also playing with transparent theater lighting gels, folding them and layering them. I was fascinated with her latest sculptural project that she has rings of holes cut into marble slabs that she has put rolled tubes of color into the holes. The tubes of color express a gradient of color from middle to outside edge. The juxtaposition between the natural, cold and ancient marble with the synthetic, colored plastic tubing is delightful. Her use of materials reminded me of Robert Youds’ work “Urban Tribe” that exhibited at the Mendel (http://www.robertyouds.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=33:rewilding-modernity-2013&catid=1:all-projects&Itemid=2). Marie gave us some excellent advice from a seasoned contemporary artist making work in Saskatoon (refreshing to see!).
^a view of more of Marie Lannoo’s work, including the in process marble slab sculpture
Our next stop on the Art Adventure was to Tammi Campbell’s studio on Avenue C. You might have seen Tammi’s work in the recent “They made a day be a day here” exhibit curated by Amy Fung at the Mendel Art Gallery. Seeing Tammi’s work is a bit deceiving. At first glance it looks like unfinished work of a hard edge / modernist painter with painters tape being left on the painting. But Tammi’s work is more cheeky than that. Her work plays at the act of painting and the material process. Her work references the work of popular modernist painters of the 50’s of New York and those that graced the Emma Lake Workshop. But in Tammi’s paintings her tape left on her paintings isn’t actually tape, but the painting itself. Through some experimentation Tammi has found a recipe to make paint that appears like tape. To further the illusion she purposely peels some edges lifting corners to make it even more believable. Take a look at Tammi’s work for a better idea (http://campbelltammi.com/Artist.asp?ArtistID=25883&Akey=3F8XEJ7W). Tammi’s work makes you question the nature of art. How did your appreciation of her work shift after learning about her process? Does the use of materials change the expression in a work of art? Or the question: Is it tape, is it not tape, does it matter??
Tammi also shared with us her daily drawing ritual. Everyday for over 3 years she’s been making line drawings as a response to work by Agnes Martin (see one of her sketch-studies here: http://therepublicofless.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/agnes-martin927_83.jpg) . Tammi’s drawings always start with Dear Agnes, followed by patterned lines that appear as personal rhythmic letters to an old friend. Tammi gave us some good insight into her experiences as an artist in Saskatoon, and gave us some great advice (artist residencies!!).
Our last stop on was Zachary Logan’s studio. Zachary Logan’s work is striking and great meeting with him in his studio/workshop. Zachary’s converted garage studio seemed a bit more realistic for us emerging artists. It was neat seeing some of his immaculate drawings in process with study material and inspiration throughout his space. His pastel work on black paper is velvety and delicious while his intricately detailed blue line drawings on clouded mylar are insane (see some of his work on his website: http://zachariloganart.com) Zachary told us all about his journey as an artist with highlights including residences in Vienna, gallery shows in New York and Paris and how being included in a curated art magazine opened doors for him. Zach’s positive outlook and friendly advice was inspiring and energizing for us art students and a perfect way to close our Art Adventure day.
^one of Zachary Logan’s walls. Lots to see
^an in-process pastel work of Zachary Logan
^a start to one of his blue pencil drawings.
^studio view with Zach and Andre talking geek
******* I’d like to thank Donald Roach and the Mendel staff, Marie Lannoo and Sean Weisgerber, Tammi Campbell, and Zachary Logan for being terrific hosts and sharing with us. Yesterday was inspiring to meet, learn from and gain helpful advice from amazing artists in our YXE art community. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!! 😀 *****************************